Question
Sun July 01, 2012 By: Sneha Soni
 

Mam if appendix does not have any work during digestion then why is it present in our body? Does it have any function???

Expert Reply
Tue July 03, 2012

Earlier the appendix was considered to be a vestigial organ, but today, the appendix is recognized as a highly specialized organ with a rich blood supply. The appendix contains a high concentration of lymphoid follicles. These are highly specialized structures which are a part of the immune system.

Among adult humans, the appendix is thought to be involved primarily in immune functions. During the early years of development, the appendix has been shown to function as a lymphoid organ, assisting with the maturation of B lymphocytes and in the production of the immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies. The function of the appendix appears to be to expose white blood cells to the wide variety of antigens, or foreign substances, present in the gastrointestinal tract.
Through the cells in these lymphoid follicles, and the antibodies they make, the appendix is involved in the control of which essential bacteria come to reside in the caecum and colon in neonatal life. It is likely that the appendix plays its major role in early childhood. It is also probably involved in helping the body recognize early in life that certain foodstuffs, bacterially derived substances, and even some of the body’s own gut enzymes, need to be tolerated and not seen as ‘foreign’ substances needing attack. Thus, the appendix helps to suppress potentially destructive humoral (blood- and lymph-borne) antibody responses while promoting local immunity.
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